I know I’ll just be happy…..
- …when I hit my big goal in the gym
- …when I meet the partner of my dreams
- …when I make the team
- …if I get to play in my desired city
- …when I get promoted to the next league
- …when my team wins the championship
Have you had these thoughts or reasoned with yourself this way before?
In our goal-oriented society, it is very common for us to believe that when we accomplish our goal or achieve something massive, we will be happy. Now, while I believe there is some truth to this, it is also a fallacy that is important to recognize so that you are not let down when you do achieve your goals.
Many people really believe that when they accomplish their big-kahuna goal, they will finally be happy. But here’s the deal: happiness is an inside job. There is a disconnect here. What I want you to see is it is not the external achievement itself that brings joy, rather it is our thoughts about ourselves combined with the feeling of accomplishment that truly brings on the bliss.
Here’s an example to put it into context:
Let’s say you’ve been training all your life so you could excel in your sport with dreams of going pro. While playing in college, you start to get noticed by pro recruiters, and before you know it, you’re hearing your name called followed by applause as you get drafted to the professional team of your dream city. Your dreams are coming true, everything seems to be falling into place, and you’re downright ecstatic. However, your happiness in that moment doesn’t come from the league or your new home team, it doesn’t come from the applause, and it doesn’t come from the first big check you deposit, either.
The happiness comes from what you make it mean about yourself. In the example above, this would have been something you’d dreamt of your whole life, so thinking about the challenges and struggles you faced and overcame to get to that point, and finally getting the recognition you deserve for all of your hard work would probably make you feel extremely proud of yourself. It is these thoughts and the meanings we attach to them are what create the feelings of pride and joy – not the goal itself.
Our thoughts about the achievement and what we make it mean are what creates happiness, not the achievement itself.
This is great news because we don’t have to wait until we accomplish something amazing to feel good about ourselves – we can create that happiness now with our mindset. Many athletes work their entire lives with dreams of going pro, yet few actually do. Does that mean that those athletes have wasted their lives preparing for something that never came to fruition? Of course not! It means that the ability to be happy regardless of the outcome of any given situation is crucial for our overall well-being.
I work with a lot of professional athletes and other high-performers who feel that they cannot be happy until they win the game, the championship, or sign a major deal, but this just isn’t true. External things do not cause our contentment, our mindset does.
I do believe having stretch goals can be very motivating and exciting, but what we want to avoid is waiting until we achieve them to feel good. Feeling good is always available right here and right now with your thinking patterns, otherwise, you will always be chasing for the next thing to bring on the butterflies.
The next time you find yourself waiting to feel good, remember that the peace you crave is here right now for the taking. If you would like some support around living into this concept, I invite you to schedule a discovery call so I can help.
Mind Your Strength,